Doing the Unthinkable
(Note – As usual, my normal disclaimer applies. However, let me add to that by saying: in this post, any negative comments regarding AOL executives has nothing to do with the competitive relationship between my employer (Microsoft) and AOL. For the purposes of this post, I’m a sports fan, not a b0rg. We will return to our regularly scheduled technical blogging shortly.)
Ted Leonsis is an abomination to the sport of hockey. He has transformed a Washington Capitals team that had gone to the Stanley Cup finals the year before he bought them into little more than a minor league hockey team unable to escape the basement in the standings. And to top it off, he has somehow managed to alienate the fans and lose $30 million dollars a year doing it.
His AOL bio claims that Leonsis “has employed state-of-the-art consumer and interactive initiatives to dramatically boost the Capitals’ attendance and revenue.” Really? Then why is he losing $30 million a year? Note to Ted: the best way to dramatically boost attendance is to actually field a competitive team.
that Leonsis is “[k]nown for his fan-friendly approach as an owner”. At
least, he was until he got into a
with a fan who had the nerve to criticize Leonsis in the wake of the
Jagr trade. Note to Ted: don’t include fisticuffs with fans who actually
paid to come see your team in your “List of 125 Ways We Are New and
And now, he has traded Peter Bondra for a
bag of old pucks minor
leaguer and a draft pick. In the world of sports, trades aren’t usually
a big deal. But this is not a normal trade. Bondra was “Mr. Capital”,
having spent his entire 14 year career with the Caps. He is the Caps
all-time leading scorer. He was on the verge of having played more games
for the Caps than anyone in their history. And even though the team was
in the cellar, he wanted to stay and help them rebuild. When he was
talking to the press, he
In this age of multi-million dollar athlete salaries with the rampant
“me first” attitude, a five-time all-star cried because he wanted to
stay with the team he loved rather than be traded to a legitimate
Stanley Cup contender. Yet Leonsis even tried to spin this: “allowing
[Bondra] the opportunity to win a Cup is important.” Of course, it’s
important, but having a player who loves where he plays and fans that
love him right back is much more important.
Of course, if Bondra is expendable, then so is anyone else with any
talent whatsoever. Only Kolzig, Gonchar and Witt remain from the ’98
Stanley Cup Finals team. How long until they are
dumped to reduce
salary allowed the opportunity to win a Cup with some other team?
(rumor mill has it Gonchar is next on the trade block, going to the
Suddenly, I am looking forward to an extended lockout in the wake of the expiring Collective Bargaining Agreement. Watching the pitiful product Leonsis has foisted on Washington area hockey fans is a disgrace.
Since all my favorite players are on one way tickets out of town, I actually hope that the Capitals continue to suck until Leonsis has lost so much money that he has no choice but to sell the team.